02/04/19: Breaking down analytics for the Super Bowl commercials

Good morning. It’s Monday February 4, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the Patriots laying claim to the Super Bowl again on Sunday, the other battle of the day – the ad wars – saw multiple winners, depending on your point of view. iSpot.tv ran its annual tally of the spots that drew the most reaction (good and bad combined) in its tally, which saw the new trailer for Captain Marvel take the top spot as of press time,
When it came to driving conversation during the game, the new trailer for Captain Marvel narrowly took the top spot when the game was over, drawing 13.58% of online activity (digital share of voice compared to the other advertisers) on social channels, narrowly topping the Verizon sport “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here,” which wrapped the game at 13.36% by their measurements. Taking #3, was the Xbox adaptive controller spot “We All Win” at 9.91%, Budweiser’s ‘Wind Never Felt Better’ at #4, and the surprising Bud Light/Game of Thrones crossover rounding out the top five with 5.28% of online activity.
Meanwhile, with the majority of Super Bowl advertisers now releasing content related to their campaigns before game day (42 of 64, reportedly), top draws before Sunday were led by Budweiser’s “Wind Never Felt Better” song, which snared 14.91% of online activity with over 24 million views. That was followed by the Expensify teaser “Expensify This” (14.03% with 9.4 million views), Xbox’s ‘We All Win’ spot (12.31% with 17.8 million), Amazon’s ‘Not Everything Makes the Cut’ promo with 8.82% and 12.5 million, and Michelob’s ‘The Pure Experience’ content rounding out the top five (5.67% and 4.8 million).
From a branding point of view, System1 Ad Ratings saw four commercials snag its top ratings of five stars (which mark “large brand building potential”), including “We All Win,” from Microsoft, “Get Ready for 100” from the NFL, Scout from WeatherTech, and “It’s Good to Be Free” from Norwegian Cruise Lines.

FOX Sports is revving up for season 19 of NASCAR coverage at Daytona Speedweeks, unveiling its lineup of talent for the season as play-by-play announcer Mike Joy calls his 40th Daytona 500, joined by Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Gordon as well as race analyst Larry McReynolds. FOX Sports’ pit road reporting team will consist of Matt Yocum, Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Regan Smith. By McReynolds’ side in the virtual studio for DAYTONA 500 coverage is new network coverage host Shannon Spake and analysts Ricky Craven and Bobby Labonte. Longtime FOX NASCAR host Chris Myers tops prerace programming, as do Alexander and analyst Michael Waltrip. The NASCAR XFINITY SERIES sees Alexander again handling play-by-play duties alongside analyst Michael Waltrip and a rotation of Cup Series drivers. Little, Yocum and Smith cover stories and updates on pit road. Finally, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series sees Welch on the call alongside analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip.Hermie Sadler, Alan Cavanna and Jamie Howe deliver pit reports from Daytona. Kaitlyn Vincie steps up with a move from pit road to the prerace anchor chair.
The Alliance of American Football finalized its lineup of media partners, announcing that NFL Network entered a multi-year programming deal that will include live event coverage of The Alliance inaugural season. NFL Network will debut their Alliance coverage with The Salt Lake Stallions at The Arizona Hotshots on Feb. 10 at 8p, and will carry two games per week in primetime on Saturday and Sunday night. They join the previously announced deal with Turner’s TNT and B/R Live along with a partnership with CBS Sports that will see the broadcast network serve up the league’s debut game on Feb. 9 as well as the championship game from Las Vegas on April 27. Meanwhile, one regular-season Alliance game will also run exclusively on CBS Sports Network each week.
The weekend’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC presented by HyperX Gaming delivered a 3.2 metered market rating for the Warriors win over the Lakers, according to Nielsen, up 52% over last year’s telecast.
2019 will reportedly see a cup competition between Liga MX and MLS clubs, according to ESPN. The tournament would involve four teams from MLS and four from Liga MX, running in the second half of 2019.  In a statement to ESPN FC, MLS said:
The 2019 Reese’s Crossover on ESPN comes back for its sixth season, featuring college basketball and NBA doubleheaders tomorrow and Wednesday. Commentators from both sports will be on the call together courtside and in studio across the two-day action. The action opens with Boston College/Duke, with Hubie Brown and Dick Vitale serving as dual analysts for this matchup, with play-by-play commentator Dan Shulman and reporter Allison Williams, followed by Kansas State/Kansas as Jon Sciambi joins Stan Van Gundy, and Chauncey Billups. NBA Wednesday tips off at 8p on ESPN, with the Wizards/Bucks with Ryan Ruocco on play-by-play duties, while Jay Bilas and Doris Burke reunite to provide analysis of the matchup, with Cassidy Hubbarth as the sideline reporter. The Spurs/Warriors close the event as Rebecca Lobo makes her NBA analyst debut with Dave Pasch and Mark Jackson. Studio coverage will also see a mix of NBA and college basketball analysts with Seth Greenberg and Paul Pierce in-studio on Tuesday for college basketball alongside host Adnan Virk. NBA Countdown begins at 7p on Wednesday, with Michelle Beadle, Paul Pierce and Brian Windhorst.
The New York Post writes that ESPN’s Adnan Virk, who had served as a voice for properties that include College Football Final, Baseball Tonight, as well as studio coverage for college basketball, among other shows. The report states that Virk was escorted off campus for allegedly leaking confidential company information to the news media and that Virk didn’t fully cooperate with the internal investigation.
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The Indianapolis 500 locked in a new presenting sponsor in a four year deal, stating with this year’s race. Gainbridge also will become the official annuity and life insurance partner of INDYCAR, IMS and the Indy 500. The 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for May 26.
The WTA renewed its partnership with Porsche in a move that will see the auto brand continue as the Official and Exclusive Automotive Partner of the WTA and the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Porsche will also continue as title sponsor of the season-long WTA Finals qualification campaign. “The WTA is delighted to extend this very successful partnership with Porsche,” said WTA President Micky Lawler. “Women’s tennis is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and popularity, and we look forward to working with Porsche to enhance the WTA experience all over the world.” 
Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Sport Clips will join Erik Jones and the No. 20 Toyota Camry team as the primary sponsor for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. “We are excited to have Erik once again represent Sport Clips in the NASCAR Cup Series.  It’s been fun to work with Erik as he has developed into one of the sport’s premier drivers,” said Gordon Logan, founder and CEO of Sport Clips. “Our partnership with NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing goes back many years and Erik is a great representative for Sport Clips, NASCAR and JGR. Our franchisees and clients are huge NASCAR fans and we can’t wait to see Erik repeat his July win at Daytona and continue that success throughout the season.”

ESPN announced that Stugotz (Jon Weiner) got his own platform to offer his take on sports and the world around him with the launch of Stupodity, from the newly formed Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network created by ESPN Podcasts. The Stupodity podcast is now serving as a weekly offering on  the new podcast network, Le Batard’s South Beach Sessions, launched in early January.

Fnatic locked in a streaming partnership with Twitch to develop new forms of creative live content that will include the team’s pro players, across all of its titles, now streaming exclusively through the platform. “Partnering with Twitch offers us an exciting opportunity to continue exploring new content formats such as Legends in Action Live, as well as enabling our fans to experience more of what we have to offer. This is the start of a new and exciting partnership for our fans and streamers alike,” said Wouter Sleijffers, Fnatic CEO.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian esports outfit Natus Vincere locked in a new deal with streaming platform Caffeine that will see the team’s player livestreams their gameplay in addition to showcasing the action behind the scenes at bootcamps and tournaments.
Alisports locked in time and location for the WESG Grand Final, announcing that it will be help from March 7-17, with the stadium stage held at the Chongqing Olympic Sports Center. Partners include Alipay, Huya, HyperX and ROG. The total prize pool for all games will top $2.5 million, the titles that include CS:GO, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, Dota 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 and Vainglory.
Intel inked an extension for its partnership with ESL Premiership this year. “Intel is proud to be returning as the headline sponsor for the ESL UK Premiership in 2019,” said Scott Gillingham, Intel’s UK Gaming & Esports Lead. “The partnership with ESL showcases our commitment to support the growth of esports to bring fans the biggest and best events globally and across the UK.”

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